Continent of the Ninth Seal review: preventing an awakening, one combo at a time
Xairylle | On October 3, 2013 at 2:00 pm
Continent of the Ninth Seal (more popularly known as C9) is a free-to-play action MMORPG developed by Korean studio Cloud 9 and published by Webzen. It presents the player not only with a world of unique characters and a variety of classes and skills, but also an impressive combat system coupled with superb graphics.
Keeping up with the combat system
C9 is a fast-paced action MMORPG that requires proper understanding of game mechanics and character control using the mouse and keyboard. Aside from running and walking, your character can also jump, dash, roll, dodge, and block depending on the character class. This provides for a wider range of possibilities and different kinds of play style with each class. Characters can also execute various attack combinations or combos, which can continue for long chains if timed properly. What I like about this kind of system is that strength is not entirely reliant on the skill build and equipment of the character. With proper grasp of mechanics, a highly-skilled player with a lower-level character can defeat an average-skilled player with a higher-level character.
C9 is not an open-world game, meaning players are not able to go into fields, dungeons, and other in-game places freely by just walking across maps. They have to access portals to get into dungeons. One of the things I usually like about dungeon-based games is that I don’t have to deal with a big crowd of other players in the same map. However, in case you’re the kind of person who enjoys such interaction, C9 offers a dungeon intrusion feature.
If you enter a dungeon and leave the intrusion option on, other players can enter the dungeon to fight you or whoever you are with, all as the monsters are trying to kill every character in the area. I believe this is perfect for people who tend to get bored by solely fighting against monsters. It also grants you bragging rights if you end up killing whoever intrudes your dungeon. Alternatively, there’s also an option for friendly players to get into your dungeon to help you out. This is great if none of your friends are online and you need to clear a certain dungeon, which is too difficult for you to finish alone.
The environment also plays a significant role in C9. In certain dungeons and PvP maps, characters may suffer death or defeat by falling off cliffs and ledges or getting hit by random spikes and flames. This gives a certain level of balance when it comes to maneuverability.
Choose your character, choose your path
You play the role of a hero fighting to prevent the return of a dark and chaotic nemesis of your world. You can initially choose from four different characters — Fighter, Hunter, Shaman, and Witchblade. Each of these characters has pre-defined attributes and can be developed towards a certain character build according to the player’s preference. Character builds are reliant on equipment sets and skill builds. I like that you don’t have to tinker with stat points to attributes like strength, agility, and intelligence. This way, players can experiment with their character builds without having to waste precious time computing stats only to realize that they built it wrong with no fallback – or, worse, get ruined by an ill-fated mis-click.
Each of the first four classes branches out to different higher classes. At the moment, each class can change twice, once at level 20 and again at level 50. Character level is currently capped to level 65, but that is expected to increase in future updates.
Unlike most MMORPGs, where you get involved in the same story regardless of the class, C9 gives each character class a different origin with different reasons to fight for the same goal. This allows for the story to have some variety between classes while still having the same over-arching concept. The story is rather interesting with some characters playing significant parts in the story as opposed to the usual NPCs.
Setting the mood with sweet visuals
When it comes to visuals, C9 has some of the best graphics among the MMORPGs out there. The characters are detailed with smooth movements. It may not be that appealing to people who are fond of games with cute, anime-like designs such as Ragnarok Online 2 or Spirit Tales, but the graphics are impressive nonetheless. If you are a fan of games with realistic designs, you should try playing C9. As for the skill animations, they may tend to get a bit confusing at first due to the animation effects, but it’s nothing that will ruin the game. Some skills actually have rather interesting effects such as camera shaking or motion blurs that add emphasis to how strong the skill really is. The game also has good quality audio that contributes to creating different moods for towns and dungeons.
C9 is for the hardcore MMORPG fan who loves an action-packed, fast-paced, control-based game that provides a wide variety of possibilities. It is also for those who enjoy games that do not provide a pay-to-win feature, as premium items don’t boost characters by leaps and bounds. People who pay attention to detail, love experimenting with builds, enjoy creating combos, or have a knack in getting deep into game mechanics should definitely try this game.
However, if you’re a casual gamer who is more interested in just playing a game without having to worry much about it, you might want to stay away from this one. It also isn’t for people who dislike having to press too many buttons consecutively. And if you are hoping to get away with mindless button-mashing, it’s not going to work. The developers paid careful attention to how one certain feature can counter another for balance, without forcing the players to tread limited paths.
Continent of the Ninth Seal is free to download from Webzen’s official C9 website.